This idea of control of knowledge, the hierarchy, appeals to me. The politics of know deserves to know what, and who decides who knows certain things is quite an interesting idea; and I have illustrated these ideas in a fictional reading environment of my own, as part of an intuitive response study.
If our knowledge is represented by a tower of books; where the taller your tower of books is, the more knowledge you have:
What is apparent is an instantaneous hierarchy of people who have different levels of knowledge. Do the heights of the towers, the amount of knowledge relate to intelligence? Not necessarily. Do they relate to a sense of hierarchy or self-superiority? They could do.
Intellectuals and non-intellectuals are on towers of very differing heights. There is a sense of isolation between the two people. They find it hard to converse with each other, because of the height, because of the vast difference in knowledge. Perhaps those at the top do not care for the struggles of people below them; only concentrating on competing with those on similar towers. Who can build the tallest tower? Those on the tallest towers could even feel that their wealth of knowledge makes them an advanced, even an evolved lifeform of the people at the bottom. Knowledge is always evolving...
I used this idea of visual hierarchy to create the fictional reading environment below.
The books at the top of the image represent all the books being written, being published. Essentially all the material, whatever format, that could be read or absorbed. Below are all the readers, the people standing on their knowledge towers. In the centre of these towers stands the tallest tower - the person on top of it has more knowledge than everyone below them. They see all the books passing down to those below, so ultimately the person on the tallest tower has the power to stop distribution of certain books, to cut the strings, to dictate what others read.
The idea that the dictators, the librarians, having the power to control knowledge is barely different to the monks controlling which books found their way into the bookshelves of the monastery in 'The Name of The Rose'. This is always how it has been... the people at the top control what people at the bottom have access to. This hierarchy of knowledge is a concept that I am interested in, and something I intend to challenge in my final design project this year.